Tim Donnelly+Rick Roelle+Angela Valles

Tim Donnelly, Rick Roelle, and Angela Valles talk with each other during a break of the Hi-Desert Republican Women, Federated meeting at Spring Valley Lake on Tuesday. Valles and Roelle are married, yet running against each other in the 1st District Supervisor race. (James Quigg, Daily Press) |
Five Supervisor contenders pitch candidacy at luncheon

By Shea Johnson
Staff Writer
Posted Apr. 27, 2016 at 7:21 AM
Updated at 7:22 AM

SPRING VALLEY LAKE — Former Apple Valley mayor Rick Roelle launched a controlled attack of San Bernardino County 1st District Supervisor Robert Lovingood’s four-year term Tuesday, criticizing the incumbent’s record on public safety and special interest groups.

“It’s very difficult to do your job when you are beholden to special interests,” Roelle said.

The Hi-Desert Republican Women, Federated luncheon event at the Spring Valley Lake Country Club afforded five candidates for 1st District Supervisor, one of the most intriguing local races this year, to speak for six minutes about their background and platform.

Roelle used his time to say he and his wife, fellow candidate Angela Valles, a former Victorville City Councilwoman, were self-funding their campaigns.

“We’re pretty much in lock step on every issue that is out there,” he said.

With 33 years of law enforcement experience, Roelle named public safety a top priority — as did all candidates — but he also batted away the narrative that crime was improving in the Victor Valley.

It was a strategy earlier employed by Hesperia Mayor Pro Tem Paul Russ, who claimed crime was “going through the roof again,” pinpointing the early-release initiative Assembly Bill 109 as one piece of the problem.

But Lovingood, who spoke third, sandwiched between challengers in order, downplayed the suggestion.

“Someone can try to skew the facts,” he said, touting 1,600 arrests as the result of sweeps, the removal of guns and drugs from the streets and a resurgent strategy to combat welfare fraud.

Earlier this month, his office declared progress by pointing to sheriff’s statistics that showed overall crime was down at all stations within the 1st District. The figures, however, also showed that while major reductions in lesser crimes were dragging down overall numbers, the trends for more serious crimes were less consistent.

Roelle and Hesperia Mayor Bill Holland, who served in law enforcement for 31 years, both agreed that deputies deserved a raise, referring to negotiations between the county and Safety Employee Benefits Association.

Holland described himself as “a true public servant whose number one goal is your public safety,” adding that he would seek more professionalism, integrity, transparency and engagement within the county if he were elected.

Russ was the only candidate to broach the Dec. 2 terrorist attack in San Bernardino, calling for the county to reform hiring practices and better screen employees.

“Unfortunately, in politics, issues are ignored until the situation becomes serious,” he said. “And this is one of those times.”

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